Too many people live with a truncated view of the Gospel; that is, they believe they are saved by grace but must keep working to maintain their salvation by the spiritual sweat of their own brow. They never fully embrace the fact that their acceptance is assured.
How about you? Do you know that your acceptance is assured, regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in today?
. . . To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:6)
All those who are saved by grace through faith are accepted in the Beloved. Notice that the Scripture does not say your acceptance is based on anything you do—not on your merit; not on your good works; not on your righteous living. No, your acceptance is based solely on Christ, who has accepted you “to the praise of the glory of His grace.” And once you have been accepted, you cannot be unaccepted! In spite of repeated foolishness, countless failures, and prayerless faithlessness, Jesus has totally accepted you. In spite of self-rule, self-absorption, and self-protection, Jesus totally accepted you. He has declared:
All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. (John 6:37)
Think about that for a moment! Jesus knows you fully and completely—every sin, spot, wrinkle, and blemish—and yet He has fully accepted you . . . forever! And that’s because His acceptance is based solely on everything He did on your behalf. He lived the perfect life. He died the sacrificial death. He paid the ultimate price for your eternal redemption with His own precious blood. He didn’t wait for you to get your act together or clean yourself up. He didn’t demand that you join a church or head out to the mission field. He accepted you when you were smack dab in the middle of the denial of Peter, the doubting of Thomas, and the death-march of Saul.
“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Only the truths of the Gospel can enlarge our view of the Almighty’s acceptance. And that brings me to a second point I hope you’ll take away from this message. If you have been eternally, unconditionally accepted in the Beloved, then you are to ̶
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (Romans 15:7)
Because of the acceptance that we have received as a free gift (Romans 3:24), we should be accepting of others—all others—all the time. Once again, we must rely on the truths of the Gospel. God in Christ has accepted us, completely and fully, “while we were still sinners.” Keeping this amazing truth in constant view will enable us to rise above the limitations of our perspective and prejudices. It will empower us to move beyond our insecurities and our tendency to personalize everything and so that we can remember that we have been accepted in Christ . . . and therefore we are to accept one another!
To be sure, we accept without compromising the truths of Scripture. Yes, we need to keep in mind what is essential to the Gospel and what is not essential to the Gospel. We do not accept sinful behavior, because God does not condone sin. But because God accepts the sinner, we too are called and commanded by God to accept the sinner.
Remember the fact that God is not finished with us yet, and that means He is not finished with others either! Only a bigger view of the Gospel will give us a bigger view of our calling to accept others, just as we have been accepted by Jesus.
And as we continue to work through these ideas, let us remember that Romans 15:7 tell us this is to be done “in order to bring praise to God.” Our acceptance assured must lead us to accepting others . . . not to bring praise to us but to give praise to the glory of God’s grace!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!